Michaels sings in his second CD Angelus. The expectations from singer-songwriters CD's are going up every day and just good songs won't do anymore. You have to be a good lyricist, singer, arranger, player, producer, and everything else has to be more than average to get any attention. Michaels stands above the crowd in all the fields. His music fills the room in a sophisticated way and is far from the acoustic guitar centered folk CD's from the 60's and 70's. He melts into his music rich instrumentations, influences from all of the last century and creates with "Angelus" music that could very well suit teenagers as well as adults. Although the term has been over used, this is truly "new folk." It reminded me a lot of (the should-be-more-famous) Jeff Talmadge, but also of David Wilcox, if he added three more musicians to his songs.
The first two songs are real rock songs. I am not sure why but it reminded me of bands like Bachman Turner Overdrive and other rock bands from the seventies. By the third song things calm down and become more melodic and some songs sound like cabaret songs, a la Tom Waits. We get another rock song, We Are One, at the end of the CD.
I liked specially the more calmed down songs like Five Pennies and Long Gone. Although this is not really acoustic or folk music, it is where Michaels excels and brings a new sound and voice. His more up-tempo songs are well done and in many ways may be the directions singer-songwriters will take in the future. But they failed to convince me completely. I also think that his first CD Little Dreams is slightly better than Angelus. Michaels is expanding the limits of the genre and is surely an artist to follow.